Camel spiders are actually not spiders; they’re solifugae, which is a different class of arachnids from spiders and scorpions. Camel spiders are also known as sun spiders, wind spiders and wind scorpions.
Camel spiders can look creepy. The physical makeup of camel spiders might appear like a mutant spider as they are a cross of a spider, a scorpion and an insect.
Camel spiders have rounded abdomen and their color is either light grey or tan. They are big and can grow as long as 3 feet. Their bodies are composed of two parts. The body itself and its head are the same as any other spiders but with a powerful pincer attached to their heads. What makes it different from the scorpions is that they don’t have the tail part of the scorpions.
Their legs can grow up to six inches. The front legs are sticky as they are used to catch their prey and climb any surface. The other six legs are long and hairy.They can jump high and run as fast as 10 mph.
In the desert, you can find camel spiders charging at you and you will definitely run in fear of their size. Soldiers’ tales say camel spiders scream; maybe it’s their own voice they heard when they ran in fear.
Camel spiders thrive in hot areas like the deserts and they hide under rocky or sandy areas that’s why they are found in Northern Africa, the Middle East and some warm regions of the United States.
In Latin language, solifugae means “those that flee from the sun.” Camel spiders are nocturnal in nature and like to live on warm and dry climates so they are mostly seen in the desert of India or in the Middle East.
If they are ever outside their homes, they will seek shelter from the sun or the coolest place they can find even if it is only a human shadow.
They look scary because they are very large, with their measurement up to 8 inches. They are usually pinkish, brown or beige in color.
They move as fast as about 10 mph, the fastest an average person can run!
They are also not web weavers.
They are considered nocturnal as they are active mostly at night. Camel spiders avoid any contact with humans that is why they live in the desert and they are nocturnal. So when you find a camel spider hiding in the shady rock, it will jump up on you and will chase you because it is following your dark shadow for shade.
Food and Hunting
Camel spiders are carnivores. Mice and small desert insects and animals are their common preys. They are greedy spiders; they would eat their preys until they could not move anymore from fullness. When they find their prey, they grab them and bite off the flesh chunks to digest slowly.
Their steady diet mainly consists of small creatures (mites, silverfish and ants) and other poisonous creatures (scorpions, birds and reptiles like lizards). Sometimes, if worse comes to worst, they will also eat their own eggs.
Camel Spider Myths
Rumor has it that camel spiders are called as such because they are seen feeding on the stomach of a dead camel.
Some myths also tell that camel spiders are venomous and the venom could anesthetize their victim before gnawing on its flesh. But in truth, there is a slim chance that a person can acquire a poisonous bite from these babies. It is because they don’t have venom, anesthetic or otherwise and dislikes attacking anything bigger than them unless you provoke them. The only danger you can get from their bites is infection.